Tag Archives: Secure Erase
- by Rich O’Neil
There’s been a lot of talk about secure deletion of data from a hard drive. How do you ensure that no one will ever read your personal data once you’ve decided to dispose of or repurpose a hard drive? Maybe you want to hand down a hard drive to your kids but want to guard against them grabbing one of the many freely available data recovery utilities on the internet and taking a crack at your data. How do you deal with that?
Are You Sure It Has Been Deleted?
Everyone has their own idea about what level of security they need and how they should go about getting it. It’s typical to hear people talk about utilities which make multiple passes with 0’s, 1’s, and/or random data to overwrite a drive. Sounds pretty effective, but you might be surprised to learn that even that is not stringent enough for agencies like the DoD when it comes to securing data at the secret level and above. For the DoD, a degaussing or actual physical shredding of the hard drive is required. But for people like us, these methods are not practical and probably not accessible anyway. They are definitely not the way to go if you were planning to hand down a drive to one of your kids. As to why, physically shredding a hard drive to tiny little bits is fairly self-explanatory. As to degaussing, it not only wipes all user data, but every other bit of data on the drive including its firmware (its operating system) which renders the drive completely useless. So what works for us, the average user?